The Wittenberg golf program enters a new era this season, with new head men's and women's coach Jeff Roope taking the wheel. He brings a wealth of experience with him to a Tiger program starting to gain a foothold in the tough North Coast Athletic Conference.
Juniors Garrett Smith (Powell, Ohio/Worthington Christian), Jeff Hochstetler (Plain City, Ohio/Jonathan Alder), and Dan Buchan (Dublin, Ohio/Worthington Christian), last year's top three, all return for the 2007-08 season. Smith led all male golfers with a 78.6 stroke average, capitalizing on strong performances across the board in the 2006-07 campaign. Buchan came in second, with an average of 79.1 per round, edging out Jeff Hochstetler who checked in just a half stroke behind. Smith, Buchan, and Hochstetler all finished 2007-08's fall season averaging less than 80 strokes per round, led by Smith who shaved 2.4 strokes off his average from last season to this season.
The freshman class, three strong, did not disappoint in the fall portion of the new season. Patrick Beausejour (Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Xavier) averaged 80.6 in his collegiate debut, while Michael Flis (Sylvania, Ohio/St. Francis) averaged 82.3, and Duncan Littlefield (New Canaan, Conn./New Canaan) posted a class-best 79.3 average. Junior Chad Summe (Cincinnati, Ohio/LaSalle) put together a great fall, improving by over three strokes from his 2006-07 average of 81.4 to finish the first half with a 78.1.
Also returning from last season are sophomores Steven Nevius (Springfield, Ohio/Catholic Central), who dropped four strokes this fall, Daniel McElwain (Lima, Ohio/Perry), and Taylor Hafley (Stanford, Ky./Lincoln County). As a team, the new season already looks bright, as the Tigers incredibly dropped their team 2-day tournament average almost a full 20 strokes, from 635.4 in 2006-07 to 616.5 through the fall season of 2007-08.
The Tiger women also came roaring out of the gate at the start of the 2007-08 season. Junior Jennifer Petro (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart) led the team by dropping a full three strokes off her previous average (89.5) to finish the fall at 86.4. Newcomer Anna Bencriscutto (Oro Valley, Ariz./Ironwood Ridge) ended her inaugural fall collegiate campaign on the links with an average of 88.1 strokes per round. Fellow freshman Sara Mewhort (Sylvania, Ohio/St. Ursula) checked in at the third spot, turning in a 95.6 average.
In addition to Petro, returning Tiger contributors include Kimberleigh (Kaci) McClure (Dublin, Ohio/Scioto), Amanda Delagrange (Akron, Ohio/Firestone), Colleen Stephens (Lexington, KY/Dunbar) and Krissy Herman (Cincinnati, Ohio/Oak Hills). McClure improved by an impressive 10 strokes in the fall over her 2006-07 performance, dropping her average from 107 to 97, while Delagrange took almost eight shots (98.75) off her previous average (106.5). Stephens, a co-captain along with Petro, made one of the biggest improvements going from an average of 114.7 in 2006-07 to 105.9 in the fall of 2007. Herman rejoins the team after her absence in the fall. The team is rounded out by freshman Kayleigh Alexander (Cincinnati, Ohio/Anderson), a standout two-sport athlete (diving & golf) at Wittenberg.
As a team, the ladies are looking forward to their spring schedule after shaving an incredible 23 strokes off their team one-day tournament average from 2006-07 (396.7) to the fall of 2007 (373.5).